NewsRegion C Palm Beach County


ESE teachers file grievance claiming 'we’re in the trenches'

Posted at 11:00 PM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 10:44:51-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Local teachers are voicing their frustrations over workloads and working conditions. Their concerns are at the Royal Palm School, a campus with students of varying disabilities and medical needs.

”I am considering leaving teaching,” said Andrew Miller an 8th grade teacher at Royal Palm School.

That’s how Miller and his colleague Alan Bloom, an 11th and 12th grade teacher describe working as Exceptional Student Education teachers at the school where students ages three to 22 attend with the most severe disabilities and medical needs.

Both men say they were called by the profession to teach. But it’s working conditions and frustrations that led them to collectively file a grievance. A grievance the district says was unfounded. While teachers in traditional classrooms are assigned to no more than two distinct academic fields – for an ESE teacher it depends on the classroom and the students' needs. Miller and Bloom say they are among a group of teachers who worry if their students are retaining the amount of content they teach.

”We are unlimited,” said Miller. ”What we are looking for is to teach three distinct subjects.”

”I had to prepare for nine classes to my students in three hours of instructional time,” added Bloom.

WPTV reached out to Palm Beach County Schools about the grievance and the workload and were told, any changes to teacher contracts would have to be “negotiated with the district and the bargaining unit” for all teachers – “not just one teacher or a set of teachers.” The district has also provided three paraprofessionals to support Miller’s classroom, alone.

”Listen to the people, listen to teachers – take out advice. We’re in the trenches,” Bloom said.

Miller says his sister attended and graduated from Royal Palm School so it’s a personal concern for him. As for he and the others next steps that is unknown.